Rat On Plane Grounds Sri Lankan Airline’s Plane For 3 Days

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s national airline on Tuesday blamed rat for grounding a plane for three days, leading to chaotic delays and concerns about its impact on investor confidence for the financially struggling carrier, the AFP reported.

The rodent was discovered aboard the Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A330 flight originating from Lahore, Pakistan, prompting an extensive search to ensure it hadn’t damaged essential components.

An airline representative stated that the aircraft has since resumed its flights, although the grounding had a ripple effect on the entire flight schedule. “The aircraft was grounded for three days at Colombo,” an airline official said. “The plane could not be flown without making sure that the rat was accounted for. It was found dead.”

The government-owned airline, which had incurred losses exceeding USD 1.8 billion by the end of March 2023, currently has three additional aircraft grounded for more than a year out of its fleet of 23.

The airline lacks foreign exchange reserves to cover the mandatory engine overhauls. Nimal Siripala de Silva, the aviation minister, told reporters that the rogue rodent incident could deter “the limited number of investors” considering assuming control of the financially strained airline.

Successive governments have made unsuccessful attempts to privatise the airline. A prior government even proposed selling the airline for one dollar, yet there were no interested parties.

The International Monetary Fund, which provided Sri Lanka with a USD 2.9 billion loan spread across four years as part of a bailout last year, has emphasised that state-owned enterprises like the airline significantly strain the national budget.

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